In part 2 of Earworm’s series on jazz, Estelle Caswell talks to producer Michael Cuscuna about the iconic album covers of Blue Note Records.
I> Inspired by the ever present Swiss lettering style that defined 20th century graphic design (think Paul Rand), Blue Note captured the refined sophistication of jazz during the early 60s, particularly during the hard bop era, and gave it a definitive visual identity through album covers.
The covers were the work of Reid Miles, who was paid $50 per cover but later landed a gig making ads for the likes of Coca-Cola to the tune of $1 million per year. Here are a few of the covers designed by Miles for Blue Note:
Crazy stylish. I love these covers and the ones that stole liberally from them..
Whose music do you put on when the holiday season comes around? Perhaps musicians like Lonnie Holley, Gurrumul, Erkin Koray, and Juan Luis Guerra? Maybe you’ve just thrilled with recognition at one or more of those names, or maybe you’ve never heard of any of them — but in either case, you should get ready for a highly unconventional holiday experience featuring their songs and those of many others, all of them curated by David Byrne. Each month the peripatetic, oft-collaborating musician and former Talking Heads frontman posts a new playlist on Radio David Byrne, and the latest, “Eclectic for the Holidays,” will get us into a kind of seasonal spirit into which we’ve never got before.
“So… who recommends this stuff to me?” Byrne asks. “I’ve known Lonnie Holley as an artist for quite some time. I saw him do a show at National Sawdust not too long ago with trombonist Dave Nelson, who toured with St. Vincent and I a few years ago.”
“I heard an orchestral interpretation of this song by Gurrumul when I was waiting to do an interview at the radio station in Melbourne, Australia. I asked, ‘Whose music is that?'” “Erkin Koray I heard after first hearing Barış Manço, who may have been recommended by some friends in Istanbul when I was there years ago… Turkey had a serious psychedelic period.” “Juan Luis Guerra may have been recommended many years ago by music journalist Daisann McLane at a music festival in Cartagena, Colombia.”
The 41-song journey that is “Eclectic for the Holidays,” which you can stream below or on Byrne’s official site, offers not just a chance to happen upon intriguing artists you’d never come across before — as happened to Byrne in all those chance encounters that went into its construction — but a break from the same fifteen or twenty songs that have long dominated the holiday-season rotation in homes and public spaces around the world. The holidays themselves teach us that tradition has its place, but Byrne, whose compulsion to discover new music from an ever farther-flung range of societies and subcultures, shows us that you can’t let them get you comfortable enough to close your ears.
I made the decision that I won’t play the game anymore. I canceled my Netflix subscription and won’t subscribe to a service again until a Spotify of video streaming appears on the market.
What I do instead? I buy shows or movies on DVD or Blu-Ray that I’m interested in. Advantage of that method is that I can watch them whenever and wherever I want. I don’t buy many, however, and usually years after release on flea markets and other second hand marketplaces.
I’ve drafted this very article beat-by-beat but waited to post it until I decided what to do about The Good Place and Doctor Who (I caved on both).
What I am doing right now is cultivating lists of the TV shows, movies, books, and music I consider must have. By must have I mean by me and not what anyone else might value. I maintain the lists in CamelCamelCamel.com so I know the best time to buy. If there is a good way to do this without Amazon’s involvement, I am keen to know.
Byrne’s Gumby-like dance moves for Stop Making Sense had been in part inspired by the way worshippers in Southern sanctified churches responded when filled with the Holy Spirit, their bodies writhing and undulating while speaking in tongues. “David’s inspiration was seeing people in church, and that’s what I connected with,” Mavis Staples says. “My head went off into the Bible.”
There was enough pushback, citing migraines and general bad-for-you-ness, that Andrew Zimmern, another chef, took to Instagram to defend the use of MSG in both home and restaurant settings.
It’s not just tastier popcorn we’re missing out on by eschewing the stuff. The Japanese chemist who discovered monosodium glutamate in the early 1900s, and who founded a company to produce it, envisioned it as a twentieth century path to better nutrition, for Japan and beyond. Kikunae Ikeda noticed that very different foods, like miso, asparagus, tomatoes, and cheese, all shared a common savory quality. Working with kombu dashi, a Japanese broth made from a type of kelp, he isolated that flavor and discovered MSG, a compound of sodium and the amino acid glutamate.
I love me some MSG applied from my delightful Ajinomoto glass dispenser. It doesn’t take much to take most anything to another level of deliciousness. My current favorite is sprinkling a bit on baked potatoes before the plain yoghurt (instead of sour cream) goes on. We’re a bit short on cheese.
We gasped when we came across this poster for the classic Studio Ghibli film My Neighbor Totoro. Admittedly, it’s a bit hard for kids to grasp at first but the poster depicts a birds-eye view of the sisters, Satsuki and Mei, pushing their way through tall grass. But the markings ahead indicate that they’re actually walking through the fur of Totoro’s large belly.
— Read on www.spoon-tamago.com/2018/12/01/huang-hai-movie-poster-neighbor-totoro/
I do not like E.T. No, check that: I loathe E.T. I hate E.T. to the core of my being. If I came home one day to find my family brutally murdered, E.T. covered in their blood, and using said blood to write “ROB BRICKEN IS AN ASSHOLE” on the wall, I would not find him more awful than I do already. Yet, somehow, countless others love E.T. His eponymous movie is regarded as one of the best family friendly films ever made, and among Steven Spielberg’s crowning achievements.
I knew E.T. was evil from a very early age.
It should go without saying that everyone is wrong, and have all been tricked by Spielberg and his malformed creation into believing E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is wholesome and heartwarming, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Chances are, you are one of these tens of millions of misguided souls. If so, read on, because I have an unassailable argument for why this so-called lovable alien should be feared and hated, beginning with this undeniable fact: E.T. looks like male genitalia.
I don’t say this to be crass. I absolutely do not like that he looks this way, but it cannot be denied. His large torso is a brownish, wrinkled sack atop two small feet. His head is bulbous, and upsettingly lies atop a long neck which E.T. extends whenever he is excited. It is a bleak truth, but a truth all the same. The proof is now that you’ve been made aware of it, you will never be able to unsee it, no matter how many times you watch the film.
— Read on medium.com/s/nerd-processor/e-t-is-secretly-the-scariest-movie-of-all-time-65035677f5c0
This echoes my feelings almost exactly.
I remember going to see this in the theater on first release. I remember my parents taking us but can’t remember if they stayed to watch or just dropped me and my sister off. I would have been in third grade, my sister in first. This was the early Eighties, so it seems alien and scary — like ET itself — that we would be “free range”.
Anyway, I hated the movie on first watching. In those days it would not be uncommon for me to see a single movie in the theater multiple times – I think I saw Goonies and War Games five times. E.T. Is terrible, and I have not seen it again.
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from Our Deportment by John H. Young, an etiquette manual published in 1882.
Some of the social observances pertaining to visiting away from one’s own home, and accepting the hospitalities of friends, are here given and are applicable to ladies and gentlemen alike.
No one should accept a general invitation for a prolonged visit. “Do come and spend some time with me” may be said with all earnestness and cordiality, but to give the invitation real meaning the date should be definitely fixed and the length of time stated.
A person who pays a visit upon a general invitation need not be surprised if he finds himself as unwelcome as he is unexpected. His friends may be absent from home, or their house may be already full, or they may not have made arrangements for visitors. From these and other causes they may be greatly inconvenienced by an unexpected arrival.
It would be well if people would abstain altogether from this custom of giving general invitations, which really means nothing, and be scrupulous to invite their desired guests at a stated time and for a given period.
Limit of a Prolonged Visit
If no exact length of time is specified, it is well for visitors to limit a visit to three days or a week, according to the degree of intimacy they may have with the family, or the distance they have come to pay the visit, announcing this limitation soon after arrival, so that the host and the hostess may invite a prolongation of the stay if they desire it, or so that they can make their arrangements in accordance. One never likes to ask of a guest, “How long do you intend to remain?” yet it is often most desirable to know.
Offer your guests the best that you have in the way of food and rooms, and express no regrets, and make no excuses that you have nothing better to give them.
Try to make your guests feel at home; and do this, not by urging them in empty words to do so, but by making their stay as pleasant as possible, at the same time being careful to put out of sight any trifling trouble or inconvenience they may cause you.
Devote as much time as is consistent with other engagements to the amusement and entertainment of your guests.
Duties of the Visitor
On the other hand, the visitor should try to conform as much as possible to the habits of the house which temporarily shelters him. He should never object to the hours at which meals are served, nor should he ever allow the family to be kept waiting on his account.
It is a good rule for a visitor to retire to his own apartment in the morning, or at least seek out some occupation or amusement of his own, without seeming to need the assistance or attention of host or hostess; for it is undeniable that these have certain duties which must be attended to at this portion of the day, in order to leave the balance of the time free for the entertainment of their guests.
If any family matters of a private or unpleasant nature come to the knowledge of the guest during his stay, he must seem both blind and deaf, and never refer to them unless the parties interested speak of them first.
The rule on which a host and hostess should act is to make their guests as much at ease as possible; that on which a visitor should act is to interfere as little as possible with the ordinary routine of the house.
On the other hand, it shows the worst of breeding for a visitor to seclude himself from the family and seek his own amusements and occupations regardless of their desire to join in them or entertain him.
You should try to hold yourself at the disposal of those whom you are visiting. If they propose to you to ride, to drive or walk, you should acquiesce as far as your strength will permit, and do your best to seem pleased at the efforts made to entertain you.
If you have observed anything to the disadvantage of your friends, while partaking of their hospitality, it never should be mentioned, either while you are under their roof or afterwards. Speak only of what redounds to their praise and credit. This feeling ought to be mutual between host and guest. Whatever good is observed in either may be commented upon, but the curtain of silence must be drawn over their faults.
Give as little trouble as possible when a guest, but at the same time never think of apologizing for any little additional trouble which your visit may occasion. It would imply that you thought your friends incapable of entertaining you without some inconvenience to themselves.
Keep your room as neat as possible, and leave no articles of dress or toilet around.
Forbearance With Children
A guest should not notice nor find fault with the bad behavior of the children in the household where visiting, and should put up with any of their faults, and overlook any ill-bred or disagreeable actions on their part.
Treatment of a Host’s Friends
If you are a guest, you must be very cautious as to the treatment of the friends of your host or hostess.
If you do not care to be intimate with them, you must be careful not to show a dislike for them, or that you wish to avoid them. You must be exceedingly polite and agreeable to them, avoiding any special familiarity, and keep them at a distance without hurting their feelings. Do not say to your host or hostess that you do not like any of their friends.
Upon taking leave, express the pleasure you have experienced in your visit. Upon returning home it is an act of courtesy to write and inform your friends of your safe arrival, at the same time repeating your thanks.
A host and hostess should do all they can to make the visit of a friend agreeable; they should urge him to stay as long as it is consistent with his own plans, and at the same time convenient to themselves. But when the time for departure has been fully fixed upon, no obstacles should be placed in the way of leave-taking. Help him in every possible way to depart, at the same time giving him a cordial invitation to renew the visit at some future period.
“Welcome the coming, speed the parting, guest,” expresses the true spirit of hospitality.
You read that headline right: the ISS has been bopping around our planet for two long decades. How do you celebrate one of the greatest collaborative scientific undertakings in human history? If you’re the European Space Agency, you plop out the longest spacebound timelapse video ever taken for the world to enjoy.
My notes and highlights should be synced to Amazon’s Kindle cloud. My ebooks, I can restore. I de-registered it from my Amazon account.
I don’t want to be flippant, but I kind of don’t care that this three year old device is lost. I don’t have disposable income laying around waiting for some spending event, so I will make due with other kit for a while (or an Amazon deal). What do I care about?
The Kindle has an origami case where it can stand without an external prop. These are not available in Japan.
As I completed the above my memory triggered. I charged my Kindle last Thursday in an uncommon place I need to visit with intent to see.
I assumed I checked everywhere in my apartment. But I also assumed I took it with me this weekend. I was wrong on both counts.
When thinking about what can go wrong, exceptions and assumptions combined with willful ignorance and blind arrogance are the literal recipe for disaster in many contexts. My story of the loss of a Kindle is not a disaster ICYWW.
Yet, I do not want to lose that origami Kindle case.